MEASUREMENT OF A NEGATIVELY BUOYANT PLUME IN THE COASTAL WATERS OFF FREEPORT, TEXAS
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Continuous discharge of a nominal 230 part per thousand brine solution was initiated in March 1980 at a rate of approx. 225,000 barrels/day (3.58 10 7 l/day) from a submerged multiport diffuser in 70 ft (21.3 m) of water at a distance of 12.5 statute miles (20 km) off the Freeport, Texas coast. A measurement system is described which was designed and used to measure the excess salinity and areal extent of the negatively buoyant brine plume. This system consists of a towing sled in which an in situ conductivity, temperature and depth probe is mounted. The towing sled is towed by Texas A & M University's research vessel, R.V. Excellence, on a predetermined search course through the expected plume area. The probe continuously measures the salinity at distance of 10 in. (25.4 cm) above the sea floor. The measured salinity data are used to construct isohalines of the bottom area, or plume contours, which indicate the areal coverage of the plume and the magnitude of the excess salinity concentration. Vertical salinity profiles were also measured in the plume area to evaluate the vertical extent of the plume. Plume contours and vertical profiles constructed from the data collected on 22, 30 March and 10 April, 1980 are discussed. The largest excess salinity contour was 5 parts per thousand above ambient and the area inside this contour was 6 acres (0.02 km2. The highest vertical extent of the plume was 25 ft (4.6 m). These measurements indicated the bottom mounted diffuser system was successfully diluting the highly concentrated brine solution and natural processes of advection and diffusion were dispersing the plume satisfactorily. 1981.